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Outrage as MLM sets to rename council buildings


17 November 2020

Fruitless expenditures such as renaming of council buildings should be the very last thing on the list of fiscal worries at MLM.

Ermelo as a whole united in an angry front against the recent stint pulled by Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM), as the municipality set forth a call for proposed name changes for council owned buildings. MLM, which is under severe financial strain due to being grossly indebted with nearly all service providers, rustled a whole cage of feathers with this proposal. As all wards, settlements and towns withing the MLM governance area suffer on a daily basis with electrical interruptions due to the NMD implemented due to the mountain of debt owed to Eskom, this is viewed as the peak of wasteful expenditure. Roads are riddled with potholes and sinkholes, with MLM claiming financial constraints as the reason for the deterioration. Substations and junction boxes are left to rot without maintenance, no doors, many of them have high voltage cables that are jerry-rigged in the most unsafe of fashion. Water supply is erratic at best, with many households left days on end with extremely low water pressure, dirty water supply, or no water supply at all. The majority of Ermelo is shrouded in darkness as streetlights are left in a dilapidated and non-functional state, with no action from MLM. Once again financial constraints are cited as the culprit.

Refuse removal is another cause of concern, with residents resorting to illegal dumping as the refuse collection schedule is often disregarded. The municipal billing system is a shambles, with residents and businesses receiving unfathomably skyhigh accounts for water and electricity, as MLM employees use estimates as a yard stick for usage, which is not only illegal, but highly unethical. Businesses are threatened with a cut-off of services should they fail to pay the excessively high bills that MLM thumbsucks without any readings, and many businesses and residents have water meters that are buried beneath shrubbery and grass, proving theat MLM does indeed not take readings on a regular basis as is expected of them. Pre-paid customers are also getting the short end of the stick, as the lack of processing of accounts on part of MLM results in penalties incurred due to “arrears”, which are actually not in arrears. As a result, the amount of prepaid units received by paying customers are greatly reduced, as purchase slips cite all manner of excuses as to penalize residents without any rhyme or reason.

In light of the above, fruitless expenditures such as renaming of council buildings should be the very last thing on the list of fiscal worries at MLM, who should rather focus the little available finances they have on basic service delivery, which is clearly lacking at this point. At the time of publication, MLM failed to respond to enquiries regarding this matter.

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